Carolina (3-3-0) opened the season with two wins over Minnesota on Oct. 7 and 8 in Helsinki, Finland, before beginning a five-game trip in North America late last week. The Hurricanes will play their first true home game Wednesday against Washington, then go back on the road to face the New York Rangers two days later.
"It's definitely been long, but you really can't use that as an excuse," rookie winger Jeff Skinner said. "We just had to keep going and finish strong in Phoenix."
Carolina lost its first two games upon returning from overseas before winning 5-2 at San Jose on Tuesday, but fell the following night 4-3 in Los Angeles.
"I don't look at it as an excuse, but I look at our situation that we're in," coach Paul Maurice said after Wednesday's defeat. "You wonder how much jam we were going to bring to the game tonight, because we've been halfway around the world on back-to-back nights. You hate losing, but I'm pretty impressed with the way 85 percent of our team played tonight."
Justin Peters made his first start of the season in place of Cam Ward on Wednesday, giving up the go-ahead goal 3:19 into the third period after Skinner tied it with his first NHL goal in the second.
Eric Staal had a goal and an assist, giving him three of each over the last four games after being held pointless in the first two.
Staal tops the Hurricanes in points just as he did last season, but the player who led them the previous season and was third in 2009-10 will be on the opposing bench Saturday.
Whitney played five seasons with Carolina, including the Stanley Cup-winning campaign in 2005-06. The 38-year-old winger recorded 334 points, including 119 goals, for the Hurricanes before signing with Phoenix as a free agent in July.
Whitney, who has no goals and an assist in three games with the Coyotes, returned to the ice Thursday in a 4-2 win over the Kings after missing consecutive games with an upper-body injury.
Lee Stempniak recorded his first career hat trick as Phoenix (2-2-1) snapped a three-game losing streak during which it was outscored 8-3.
"To do that, win and help the team in a pretty big game is a great feeling," said Stempniak, who had not scored in the previous four contests. "This was a big game for us in terms of establishing our identity."
However, the Coyotes are scoreless in 11 power-play chances since scoring on their first of the season and must play again without Martin Hanzal (lower-body injury) and Shane Doan, who is in the middle of a three-game suspension for his hit Sunday on Anaheim's Dan Sexton.
Stempniak, who had a career-high 28 goals last season, scored two in a 4-0 road win over Carolina on March 13 in the teams' most recent meeting.
Ilya Bryzgalov recorded that shutout after losing his previous three games versus the Hurricanes. He faced a season-low 30 shots Thursday while avoiding a third straight loss.